School Uniforms

[deleted account] ( 47 moms have responded )

School uniforms are standard here in the UK, but not so in many other countries.

Are you for or against? What are the pros and cons?

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Sharon - posted on 07/03/2010

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FOR!!

School is not about individuality. Its about EDUCATION! If the kids could pull their heads out of their asses wondering how to get their hands blankblankblankety brand to wear to school, maybe they'd focus more on school!

School is not to show how much of a rebel you are, how cool your parents are ... its to get a FUCKING EDUCATION! I HATE parents that insist their kid be the "coolest". OMG - school isn't about that! You want to show you're a rebel, FINE get an education in paranormal psychology or theoretical science! Or gene splicing! These days, a tatoo doesn't make you a rebel any more anyway, lmao, they're to common.

NOPE, individuality is for the rest of the world to see. The world doesn't see you in school. You're there to learn - thats it.

Changing their mind at the last minut about what to wear. UGH. Taking half the morning to decide what to wear. IF they wore uniforms their biggest decision would be Khaki slacks or khaki shorts... hmmm.

Lucy - posted on 07/03/2010

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Uniform is a great leveller.

It doesn't create clones or wipe out individual identities, I like to think kids are rather more than the clothes they happen to be wearing!

Sarah - posted on 07/03/2010

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I don't think kids need to wear their own clothes to be an individual. As Sara said, you can shine in your own special way even in a uniform!

The practical reasons for a uniform are obvious to me. (maybe that's due to where I'm from)

I also think that it prepares them for a day at school, just like I put on my uniform for work, or you wear your "smart" clothes (if you're lucky enough to have a "good job" lol) it gets you in the mind set for a days work.

I honestly can't think of a single reason that would dissuade me from uniforms in school. :)

[deleted account]

"So instead of trying to make the kids look like an army of clones how about we just teach them not to be jerks to one another?"

That's a lovely sunshine and roses theory but not very realistic is it?
The bullies are the children of parents who either over indulge them in materialistic posessions and teach them no respect for people, or they are children of abusive homes where parents just don't give a shit.
If a child feels they can only express their individuality through clothes then it's a sad reflection on the parents. No matter what the uniform kids figure out how to individualise it themselves. It has nothing to do with creating a clone army!

IMO removing anything that can be potentially used as a source of torment for the bullies is a good thing.

Jenny - posted on 07/03/2010

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Strongly for. For all the good reasons you gals have already stated.

I was brought up poor and it was horrifying putting on my acid wash jeans and kitty print sweater when they were no longer cool (they WERE cool at one point ya know) because we couldn't afford anything else.

While kids will still be picked on for one thing or another uniforms make one less thing for the kids (and parents to worry about). They help foster an environment of acceptance and teamwork.

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Lucy - posted on 07/06/2010

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In the UK, price definitely can't be used as a reason against uniform (unless you are talking about private schools, and if you have the money to send your kid to one, you have the money for the uniform ;) because it is soooo cheap!

My daughter starts reception class in January, and at the school summer fair I just bought her whole uniform (second hand, but excellent condition) for £11! That includes two lovely grey pinafore dresses, two royal blue cardigans and two white blouses.

She is going to look so cute, I just know I'm going to cry on her first day :(

Andrea - posted on 07/06/2010

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I think if the teachers that I had in High school ever knew I said this the fall over in shock. I was one of those kids that wore the short shirt to school yes there was a dress code about it. My teachers would say something about it to a point they gave up after a while because the next day I was wearing one again. I remember one day V Principle stopped me in the hall and said don't you think your shirt is to short. My responce to was yes and I'll be late for class if you do anything about it and i walked away and went to class. I'm for school uniforms. I was a name brand kind of kid. My mom and I would get in scream matches when time came time to buy school clothes. I was brat I see that now lol. I can see were a uniform can even the playing field between students. There be less judging and so on. It is about Education and not what you wear.

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2010

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Yeah, we have second hand clothing pools too - I try to get whatever I can second hand :)

Sarah - posted on 07/06/2010

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Ooooh, the only "expensive" thing is the school jumper, which was about £13 I think. They do second hand sales at the school all the time though, so you can get them cheap! :)

Sarah - posted on 07/06/2010

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These days over here, uniforms are SO cheap!!
At the supermarket, you can get a summer checked dress for £3.50. Trousers for £2.50. 3 polo shirts for £3. There's even school shoes for £5!!!! (though they don't last too long!)

I know when I was a kid though, it was more expensive.

Jodi - posted on 07/05/2010

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Yeah, my son's uniform is expensive. Private Catholic College. But I will say that it is good quality, and so far, his jumper I bought for about $75 2 years ago still fits him and is in good condition, I managed to get his blazer second hand for $95 (as opposed to $170) and that also still fits him, and is in good enough condition I can re-sell it. His pants are a different story, LOL. $70 a pair, and being the boy he is, he goes through the knees. They last about a year though. And I used his first pair to make nice neat little patches for his later pairs of pants.....

But then there is the sports uniform....they have to have the college tracksuit, the college shirt and shorts and the college socks. Oh, they even have college socks for normal uniform.

Then there is the college tie, the college soccer team socks, football team socks, depending on what sports you are choosing to play (this is all in addition to the general sports socks with the school name on them).

Shoes, they are going to be expensive anyway. He has a Size 10 men's foot. No kiddie shoes for him anyway.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that some uniforms are quite expensive. But I DID choose to send my son to this school, knowing that the uniform was expensive. However, in my experience here in Australia, public school uniforms are pretty basic, and quite inexpensive and can be pretty much purchased in any major department store.

Sharon - posted on 07/05/2010

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public school uniforms are relatively cheap, some private school uniforms are incredibly expensive.

[deleted account]

I keep hearing that uniforms are pricey. Must be totally different types of uniforms than what we require here. In our district there are 5 schools...pre-k - 1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th, 6th-8th, and high school. Each school has a slightly different uniform, but they are all some combination of khaki or blue pants, red, white, or blue polo shirt. Shoes have to be closed toe, hard sole. Belt must be worn with shirt tucked in. Jackets must be solid color with no distinguishable labels. Hair must be a natural color, boys have short hair and facial hair must be shaved. I don't know the policy on tattoos and piercings, except boys can't have earrings.

Anyway, my point is, the uniforms are relatively cheap. You can get the pants and polos at Wal-Mart for less than $10 each.

[deleted account]

I went to a private all girls High School were we had to wear uniforms and I am totally fine with that. Our uniform had choices: skort (had to be a maximum of 3 inches above the knee), blue pants or long ugly jumper. we had to wear the white polo shirt with school logo. When we were cold we had a choice between a blue cardigan or a blue sweatshirt with the school logo. We had to wear blue or white socks and black, navy or brown leather shoes (or imitation) So with that said, my experience with uniforms brings me to these conclusions (personal opinions here):

-Uniforms do not deprive kids of their individuality. Kids who wear uniforms only need to find different ways of showing their individual styles. Week-ends are fine to play dress-up and learn about your own clothing style. (I turned out to be a goth-punk weirdo, ahahaha)

-Uniforms do not eradicate the socio-economic comparisons between students, they merely delay them.

-I think uniforms do help students concentrate more on what they are in school for (i.e. learning). No cleavage showing to distract, no boxers hanging out of the pants...

-Uniforms do help to reduce the amount of money spent on clothing for students. Yes the uniforms are pricey to buy all in one load but they are usually good quality and students only really need 3 shirts and 1 or 2 bottoms... I did my last 2 years of school with the same 3 shirts and one pair of pants.plus, they have the potential of being sold to smaller students when they are outgrown before being worn out.

-As far a piercings, we were not allowed anything visible but I am okay with eyebrow/nose/ears as long as the jewelry is small and I would not accept rings as they can be a hazard in gym class...

Jocelyn - posted on 07/05/2010

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I really don't know where I stand on this issue.
I can see both sides (as the freaky-theatre-artist geek I was in HS and as the mother I am now)
So I have a compromise: let the kids wear their hair/makeup how ever they want and let them pierce random body parts. BUT dress code/uniform wise, let them pick their own style (ie boot cut vs skinny etc) but dictate what colour/material it has to be. For example you have to wear black bottoms (no jeans) but they can be whatever brand/style you want. Your shoes have to be black, but they can be whatever style you want.
I think that would be a good compromise.

Charlie - posted on 07/05/2010

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Our school had optional uniform before they tightened the rules .

I actually took pride in wearing my uniform , geeky i know LOL.

Sarah - posted on 07/05/2010

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I just don't see the logic behind an optional uniform at all!
Seems like it would be just asking for trouble.

[deleted account]

There was a primary school here when I was growing up that was optional school uniform (not my school). Class photos looked crap!

Sarah - posted on 07/05/2010

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Optional uniforms??!!?!?! That's a terrible idea!
My schools were never completely strict and rigid about uniforms. We got away with quite a lot, especially in the last year!
I think it's kinda fun to see how you can express yourselves within the dress code. Makes it more challenging! :)

C. - posted on 07/05/2010

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Like Loureen, we didn't have that much money for the more 'cool' clothes when I was growing up.

In fact, a lot of the time I actually had hand-me-downs that didn't fit well b/c.. Well, we were all different sizes. My oldest sister's clothes went to the second oldest. By the time she was done with them, they were no good. So she would get some new clothes when those wore out and b/c she was growing rapidly (her chest area, anyway) she was handing shirts down to me.. Mind you, she is the only one in our family that is petite. We are all taller than her, bigger frame than her.. So her clothes never fit well.. Anyway, I agree that as someone who wasn't blessed with the better clothes, it is a GREAT medium.

However, might I add that when I was in 5th grade, our school uniforms were optional. Unfortunately b/c you couldn't tell one day's uniform from the next, my mom bought several cheap versions of the uniform and I HAD to wear them b/c otherwise I'd be wearing the same jeans/t-shirts every couple of days.. Needless to say, I was made fun of BIG TIME b/c I was literally almost the ONLY person in the school wearing the optional uniforms.

Thus, optional uniforms should be banned and schools should make up their minds.. But mandatory uniforms should be a standard in all schools, IMO.

Charlie - posted on 07/04/2010

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I like uniform for school , i feel as a poorer student who didnt have access to brand name clothes that it is a great leveler , i watched and was one of those kids who got picked on for not having reebok pumps when everyone else did , people were teased for wearing target brand clothes ect we had a very relaxed uniform so it was blindingly obvious until the rules were tightened , i loved my uniform , it was easy to to find clothes to wear , i could still express myself with other means such as personality which i think is important to learn how to express without the use of clothing , that can come out of school when you dress yourself while i see clothing as a great form of expression i feel a person shouldn't rely on it , our school allows tattoos and piercings too so that isnt a problem .

Jodi - posted on 07/04/2010

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"don't fight with me at 7:15am over what to wear."

7:15am? My daughter wears uniform and still fights me at 8:45am how she wants her hair, LOL. Half the time I have no idea wha she is talking about and the hairdo she wants is impossible......I WISH she'd start that one at 7:15am.

My kids are like Donna's, their uniform is dictated right to what colour hair ties they can wear in their hair. At my son's school, they even have a rule about how it can be no shorter than a "number 2" and no longer than their shirt collar. Seriously :) Which reminds me, I had better take him for a hair cut over the holidays....

Krista - posted on 07/04/2010

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I can see the appeal of them. I don't think they're the great leveler, but there IS something to be said for not fighting with your kid every morning because they're late because they can't decide what to wear, or because their favourite green shirt is in the wash.

And as far as individuality goes, I see no reason why they couldn't be allowed to wear their hair however they wish. Express your individuality in a follicular manner -- but don't fight with me at 7:15am over what to wear.

Aliska - posted on 07/04/2010

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I wore school uniform for all my schooling and while I didn't mind it they are not social levellers. Kids are quicker than adults when it comes to sorting out who's who and who's got what. You only have to see the state of the uniform, hear what kids got up to on the weekend, what they own etc to determine their social standing. The first 'casual clothes' day of the year usually confirms what you've sussed out all along.

My teens go to a high school that doesn't have uniform which is unusual in Australia. It wasn't picked for this reason, it just happened to be one of the better government highs in our area and our oldest was very keen to go there. We made it clear from the start that she would have to cope the best she can with casual clothes and that we wouldn't be bowing down to any teen queen dramas about what the other kids have and what she 'needs'.

We haven't had any more demands for clothes I don't think than we would've had had they gone to a school with a uniform. At least when I buy them stuff I know they will get the wear out of them so maybe am inclined to buy more expensive brands occasionally because I know that they will get the use.

They don't take any longer getting ready in the morning than they did in primary school when they did wear uniform. I think my son is a little more careful with his clothes and doesn't seem to loose as many items as he did in primary school because they are 'his' clothes that he actually likes not uniform that he doesn't care about.

I also don't have the weekend panic of making sure all the uniforms are washed, dried and ironed and ready for the new school week.

The school does enforce a dress code in regard to sensible shoes, how revealing clothes can be and offensive slogans on tee-shirts etc. Kids that breech the code have to go to the office and get a school sports tee shirt to wear for the rest of the day instead.

Lindsay - posted on 07/04/2010

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I went to a private school growing up so I wore uniforms from Kindergarten through 12th grade. I envied all those kids in the public schools who were able to wear whatever they wanted. Now that Madeline is starting Kindergarten (cry!!) this year at a public school, I am having a little anxiety about having to pick something for her to wear everyday. I know it sounds silly but it's so foreign to me. And honestly, I'd be head over heels if they would put in a uniform policy. It's easier. It's hard to find clothes off the racks that fit in with a dress code, especially girls shorts. With a uniform, there's no question about it...what they sell is what the kids wear. To me, uniforms put more emphasis on learning. Kids aren't distracted to see who has the better outfit that particular day. So while I once dreaded putting my uniform on everyday, I am now realizing just how nice they were.

[deleted account]

FOR! I would have loved to have had a uniform for school. It is a leveller of sorts, especially the school my boys will be attending here in Australia. They not only have a full uniform (from hat down to shoes), but they also have rules regarding hair styles, jewelry and school crested book bag. The only differentiation allowed is the ONE bag tag to identify your bag from others.



Despite this, I do believe that kids will find something to pick on and it will not eliminate bullying completely. What I do believe it will do is make children find something other than the clothes they wear to be the expression of their 'style'. As Sharon said, school is about education.



Another thing the uniform will do is to teach self respect and discipline. When you are wearing a uniform, you are representing your school. So good behaviour should be exhibited and your appearance should be clean and tidy out of respect for your school's name and reputation... as well as for yourself. If you take the military as an example... they spend some time teaching how to properly care for the uniform, because it and the organisation it represents should be given a proper level of respect and reverence.



I'm not really looking forward to having to iron though.

La - posted on 07/04/2010

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I still don't think uniforms stop the bullying problem so I don't see the point in placing such an emphasis on using them to lessen harassment. Like I said in my pp- kids will find other things to pick on.

Sarah - posted on 07/03/2010

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I'm not really for uniforms coz I think they're going to stop bullying, it's obviously not going to. Bullying will happen whether they're in uniform or not.

I think there are ways of expressing who you are even if you are in a uniform. I know we did it at school, there's ways of making "yourself" known.

I just think uniforms are SO much easier!

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2010

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I'm not sure it is really a case of clothes being the only form of self expression that kids have. But for some young people, it does seem to be particularly important. It's not always a status symbol, but a way of trying on roles and discovering what "type" they are. Artsy, punk, nerdy, etc.

Like I said, I'm not personally opposed to uniforms, but I do think that forcing all kids to be dressed the same may have some unintended, subconscious effects on individuation. I'm not sure whether or not those effects are significant enough to undo the issues of bullying and such that are related to clothing as status. But it should be considered.

And I really do not believe that school uniforms in any way prevent bullying. There will always be bullies & victims, they just find something new to use against people. I went to a school where I got picked on for not belonging to the country club or having a vacation condo at the nearest ski resort. Kids will always be able to identify status symbols and pick on those that don't have them.

Like I said though, I'm a bit cheap and uniforms definitely appeal to that side of me.

Rosie - posted on 07/03/2010

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i'm much like carol on this, i cannot choose. i think i lean more towards no uniforms. i just put myself in the situation and i don't like the idea of being forced to wear one.

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2010

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My kids can explore their individuality through what they wear on weekends and holidays, and even after they get home from school, but just not during the school day.

[deleted account]

Like I said in my first post, the main reason I'm for uniforms is that it eliminates wasted time on dress code enforcement in the classroom. But to continue with the "uniforms take away individuality" argument...



Clothes are not the only form of self-expression. Most good teachers allow for exploration of the arts, and that would be the appropriate time for kids to express themselves during the school day. They can go deeper than just the clothes on their backs through their writing, drawings, musical selections, etc. We did a four week project in my fourth grade classroom that was created just for that reason. We did a play. We had script writers, costume and makeup designers, set designers and constructors, actors, advertisers, sound effects and background music people. We worked on it 30 minutes a day after all the academic stuff was over. You'd be surprised how these kids in uniform each shined in their own special way.

ME - posted on 07/03/2010

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I wore them from 1st grade through my Soph. year in High School...I would LOVE it if public schools required uniforms. I think it's a fantastic idea, and if I can find a public school that does require them (near our home) that is where I will try to send my kids. School Uniforms take away a lot of problems...they just become non-issues!

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2010

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I honestly can not choose a side. I see all points on this issue. I like the idea of all the kids wearing the same thing in the sense that it blurs the economic issues that can arise with brands and such stuff. And that kids can't be teased for what they wear. And the cheap side of me definitely likes the savings that could be involved.

But, I think young people should have the opportunity to explore their own identities, and what we each wear can definitely be linked to that. I don't believe that "the clothes make the man" but I do think some kids like to express their individuality through fashion.

As a kid, I would have been perfectly happy to wear a uniform. I am not a fashionista and I just wear what is practical. But lots of people like to express themselves in their manner of dress, and uniforms do prohibit that. I tend to lean away from things that prevent personal expression.

Meghan - posted on 07/03/2010

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I don't really know how I feel about them.
I like what Laura just said "So instead of trying to make the kids look like an army of clones how about we just teach them not to be jerks to one another?"
I went to a school where EVERYONE had nice clothing. And my family couldn't afford them, so my mom would take me to second hand stores and she would scower the racks for hours to find used brand name clothes (what a great lady!)

La - posted on 07/03/2010

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Whether you try to "limit" the amount of things a child can get made fun of for or not, kids will still be teased and bullied (their weight, their teeth, their social status, their looks,etc). So instead of trying to make the kids look like an army of clones how about we just teach them not to be jerks to one another?

I didn't have uniforms at my schools (K-12) and I didn't have money for name brand stylish clothes. I rocked out hand me downs and didn't care what other people were wearing. I never got made fun of for my clothes anyway...I got made fun of for things I couldn't control (like being flat chested and my nationality) so wearing a uniform wouldn't have done anything to ease the taunting. I wore uniforms everyday in military college and found it to be no better (as far as what you can get harassed for) than if I had worn regular clothing.

[deleted account]

Theres also the other side with the kids who parents break the bank buying their kids the top Nike trainers for school so that he'll fit in, only to have him beaten to a pulp and his trainers stolen!

Joanna - posted on 07/03/2010

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Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money. So while my classmates got to explore their style with Doc Martens and Silver jeans and Abercrombie tees (that seemed to be their dress code), I had to "explore" mine with Walmart tees (which weren't so stylish 10-15 years ago) and garage sale finds. I would have loved to have a uniform, so we could all be equals in that department, because kids are cruel and will put you down for anything, so why not make that harder for them to do?

[deleted account]

It may take away the "stress" of having to wear brand name clothing, but kids will still distinguish themselves by their jewelry, shoes, make-up, hairstyles, etc. The poor kids still get made fun of.

Not in UK schools. Dress code and uniform include such things as jewelry (one stud earring each ear), shoes (generally black), no obvious makeup, no outlandish hairstlyes.

La - posted on 07/03/2010

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Cathy:My opinion is that a uniform makes all children equal. Individuality is all well and good but if your parents on the poorer side then how can they compete in the style stakes with the rich kids. It becomes another avenue for bullying to proceed along.

It may take away the "stress" of having to wear brand name clothing, but kids will still distinguish themselves by their jewelry, shoes, make-up, hairstyles, etc. The poor kids still get made fun of.

[deleted account]

I was totally against uniforms, until I became a teacher. My district enforced uniforms the year I was a senior in high school. Ugh! I quietly rebelled in my own stupid way. I bought one pair of khaki pants (more than one shirt, that would be gross). And I wore my shirt untucked underneath my jacket. Yeah, I was a bada**

Here is why I like them. Like Sharon said, school is for education. When you have to deal with dress codes every morning by checking skirt lengths and t shirts for inappropriate material, it takes away too much learning time. When you have to send a girl home because the straps are too thin on her shirt, she misses important class time.

It would be ridiculous to go the opposite direction and just let kids wear whatever they want. They won't be able to do that in the workplace. Kids are not to be indulged (too much). That makes for terrible adults and employees.

Uniforms help make kids equal to an extent. But kids always find another way to divide themselves. Booksack brands, shoes... heck in my school where I taught, the bigger your hairbow, the "cooler" you were. Even if these things are regulated, some parents will buy shoes more often than others and kids notice. So I agree with uniforms, but not for the equalizer reason.

[deleted account]

My opinion is that a uniform makes all children equal. Individuality is all well and good but if your parents on the poorer side then how can they compete in the style stakes with the rich kids. It becomes another avenue for bullying to proceed along.

LaCi - posted on 07/03/2010

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Blah. Against, unfortunately I plan on sending mine to private school so it's a sacrifice that has to be made.

I'm very much for children being able to explore style, It always annoyed me that public schools here pretty much ban tattoos and piercings. They attempted to enforce a "dress code" which was essentially a uniform, they quickly overturned it when we chose to not follow it. In the end, my son will still be able to explore whatever clothing options he likes, but I'll be buying twice the clothes and I find that to be irritating. They have stringent guidelines for hair, makeup, tattoos, piercings, and so on. The uniform may not have any impact on his person style at home, but the fact that he won't even be able to pick a hairstyle that doesn't fall into their "acceptable" category pisses me off. I think it's just a personal preference. The uniform itself, although I don't like it, I wouldn't be out rioting because of it.

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2010

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Just thought I'd add a story to this. My son used to walk home from school in Year 5, and one day I was really worried because he was extremely late. I was just about to bundle my daughter in the car to go and look for him when the school called. He and a friend had been caught hanging around (in their school uniforms) in the storm water drains being silly on their way home. A resident in the area had recognised the unform and called the school about it, and a teacher went down to deal with it.

Of course I was pissed at my son, and dealt with it in my own way too, but the uniforms gave the resident something to work with, so I am glad they had uniforms on.

After that, I did follow him home one night, timed the walk/ride, and pretty much gave him a deadline. He never did it again.

Jodi - posted on 07/03/2010

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Absolutely love them....mostly.



I have different reasons based on boys vs. girls.



With my daughter, I love that there is no argument (well, you'd be surprised, there is, but I only have to tell her that her principal said so, and she shuts up). They wear what they have to wear. Arguments at 8:30am are no fun.



PRIMARY school uniforms are reasonably cheap.



My son's uniform costs a fortune!!! He is now in high school....$70 for a jumper, $180 for a blazer, $75 for a pair of pants. NOT CHEAP!!! But they are good quality, and I get a lot of wear out of them......he is under threat to look after it, but unfortunately, he grows out of it quicker than it wears out.



And like Sarah said, he is in high school, and the fact that they are easily spotted if they skip out of school is a good thing. They do also look good. I LOVE my kids school photos.



I am totally FOR uniform.

Sarah - posted on 07/03/2010

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FOR!
It's great not having to worry about what to dress them in every morning.
If they go somewhere with the school, they're easily spotted and affiliated with their school.
Uniforms are super cheap these days.
They look nice and smart (most kids anyway!)
FOR! FOR! FOR!
:)

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